Friday, July 07, 2006

Dracula

Dracula (1897) is a novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, and the name of the world's most famous vampire character.

Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature. Structurally it is an epistolary novel, that is, told as a series of diary entries and letters. Literary critics have examined many themes in the novel, such as the role of women in Victorian culture, sexuality, immigration and folklore. Although Stoker did not invent the vampire, the novel's influence on the popularity of vampires has been singularly responsible for scores of theatrical and movie interpretations throughout the 20th century.

Novel background

Between 1878 and 1898 Stoker managed the world-famous London Lyceum Theatre, where he supplemented his income by writing a large number of sensational novels, his most famous being the vampire tale Dracula published on May 18, 1897. Parts of it are set around the town of Whitby, where he was living at the time. While Dracula is famous today (due in large part to its 20th century life on film), it was not an important or famous work for Victorian readers, being just another pot-boiler adventure among many. Throughout the 1880s and 1890s authors such as H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H.G. Wells wrote many tales in which fantastic creatures threatened the British Empire. Invasion literature was at a peak, and Stoker's formula of an invasion of England by continental European influences was by 1897 very familiar to readers of fantastic adventure stories.

Shakespearian actor and friend of Stoker's, Sir Henry Irving was a real-life inspiration for the character of Dracula, tailor-made to his dramatic presence, gentlemanly mannerisms and speciality playing villain roles. Irving however never agreed to play the part on stage.

Shakespearian actor and friend of Stoker's, Sir Henry Irving was a real-life inspiration for the character of Dracula, tailor-made to his dramatic presence, gentlemanly mannerisms and speciality playing villain roles. Irving however never agreed to play the part on stage.

Before writing Dracula, Stoker spent seven years researching European folklore and stories of vampires, being most influenced by Emily Gerard's 1885 essay "Transylvania Superstitions". Though it is the most famous vampire novel ever, Dracula was not the first. It was preceded and partially inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu's 1871 Carmilla, about a lesbian vampire who preys upon a lonely young woman. The image of a vampire portrayed as an aristocratic man, like the character of Dracula, was created by John Polidori in The Vampyre (1819), during the summer spent with Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley and other friends in 1816. Polidori is many times credited as the creator of the vampire genre in fiction, but his vampire story was inspired by elements of Lord Byron's vampire poem, The Giaour (1813).

The Lyceum Theatre where Stoker worked between 1878 and 1898 was headed by the tyrannical actor-manager Henry Irving, who was Stoker's real-life inspiration for the mannerisms of Dracula, and who Stoker hoped would play Dracula in a stage version. Although Irving never did agree to do a stage version, Dracula's dramatic sweeping gestures and gentlemanly mannerisms drew their living embodiment from Irving.

The Dead Un-Dead was one of Stoker's original titles for Dracula, and up until a few weeks before publication, the manuscript was titled simply The Un-Dead. The name of Stoker's count was originally going to be Count Vampyre, but while doing research Stoker ran across an intriguing word in the Romanian language: "Dracul", meaning "the Devil". There was also a historic figure known as Vlad the Impaler, but whether or not Stoker based his character on him remains debated (see "Historical connections" below).

Dracula is an epistolary novel, written as collection of diary entries, telegrams, and letters from the characters, as well as fictional clippings from the Whitby and London newspapers. This literary style, made most famous by one of the most popular novels of the 19th century, The Woman in White (1860), was considered rather old-fashioned by the time of the publication of Dracula, but it adds a sense of realism and provides the reader with the perspective of most of the major characters.

Dracula has been the basis for countless films and plays. Three of the most famous are Nosferatu (1922), Dracula (1931), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Nosferatu was produced while Stoker's widow was still alive, and the filmmakers were forced to change the setting and the names of the characters for copyright reasons. The vampire in Nosferatu is called Count Orlok rather than Count Dracula. Bram Stoker's Dracula, while closer to the novel's plot than most movies produced earlier (or since), reimagines the Count as a tragic figure instead of a monster. It adds an opening sequence that focuses on the Count's Romanian background, and inserts a new romantic subplot into the story.

Stoker wrote several other novels dealing with horror and supernatural themes, but none achieved the lasting fame or success of Dracula. His other novels include The Snake's Pass (1890), The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), and The Lair of the White Worm (1911).

Plot summary

The story begins with Jonathan Harker, a newly-qualified English solicitor, being invited to the Count's crumbling, remote castle (situated in the Carpathian Mountains, on the border of Transylvania and Moldavia), to provide legal support for a real estate transaction on behalf of Harker's employer in London. At first seduced by the Count's gracious manner, he soon discovers he has become a prisoner and begins to see disquieting facets of the Count's daily life. Searching for a way out of the castle one night, he falls under the spell of three wanton female vampires, the Brides of Dracula, but is saved at the last minute by the Count who wants to retain Harker as a friend to teach him about London, where the Count plans to travel among the "teeming millions". Harker barely escapes from the castle with his life.

Not long afterward, a Russian ship runs aground during a fierce tempest, on the shores of Whitby, a coastal town in England. All passengers and crew are dead. A huge dog or wolf is seen running from the ship, which contains nothing but boxes of dirt from Transylvania: Count Dracula, in his animal form, has arrived in England.

Soon the Count is menacing Harker's devoted fiancée, Wilhemina "Mina" Murray, and her vivacious friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy receives three marriage proposals in one day, from Arthur Holmwood (Lord Godalming); an American cowboy, Quincey Morris; and an asylum psychiatrist, Dr. John Seward. There is a notable encounter between Dracula and Seward's patient Renfield, an insane man who means to consume insects, spiders, and birds, and other creatures — in ascending order of size — in order to absorb their "life force". Renfield acts as a kind of motion sensor, detecting the proximity of Dracula and releasing clues accordingly.

Lucy begins to waste away suspiciously. All of her suitors fret and Seward calls in his old teacher, Professor Abraham Van Helsing from Amsterdam. Van Helsing immediately determines the cause of Lucy's condition, but refuses to disclose it, knowing that Seward's faith in him will be shaken if he starts spouting off about vampires. Van Helsing tries multiple blood transfusions, but they are clearly losing ground. On a night when Van Helsing must return to Amsterdam (and his message to Seward asking him to watch the Westenra household is accidentally sent to the wrong address), Lucy and her mother are attacked in the night by a wolf. Mrs Westenra, who has a heart condition, dies of fright, and Lucy herself apparently dies soon after.

Lucy is buried, but soon afterward the newspapers report a "bloofer lady" (sometimes explained as "beautiful lady") stalking children in the night. Van Helsing, knowing that this means Lucy has become a vampire, confides in Seward, Arthur, and Morris. The suitors and Van Helsing track her down, and after a disturbing confrontation between her vampiric self and Arthur, they stake her heart and behead her.

Around the same time, Jonathan Harker arrives home from Transylvania (where Mina joined and married him after his escape from the castle); he and Mina also join the coalition, who now turn their attentions to dealing with Dracula himself.

After Dracula learns of Van Helsing and the others' plot against him, he takes revenge by visiting -- and biting -- Mina at least three times. Dracula also feeds Mina his blood, creating a mind bond between them, aiming to control her. The only way to forestall this is to kill Dracula first. Mina slowly succumbs to the blood of the vampire that flows through her veins, switching back and forth from a state of consciousness to a state of semi-trance during which she is telepathically connected with Dracula. It is this connection which they start to use to track Dracula's movements.

Dracula flees back to his castle in Transylvania, followed by Van Helsing's gang, who manage to track him down just before sundown and kill him by "shearing through the kneck" and stabbing him in the heart with a bowie knife. Dracula crumbles to dust, his spell is lifted and Mina freed from the marks. Quincey Morris is killed in the final battle, stabbed by gypsies; the survivors return to England.

The book closes with a note about Mina's and Jonathan's married life and the birth of their first-born son, whom they name Quincey in remembrance of their American friend.

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

Although Dracula is a work of fiction, it does contain some historical references. The historical connections with the novel and how much Stoker really knew about the history is a matter of conjecture and debate.

Following the publication of In Search of Dracula by Radu Florescu and Raymond McNally in 1972, the supposed connections between the historical Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia and Bram Stoker's fictional Dracula attracted popular attention. During the six-year reign of Vlad III (14561462), "Vlad the Impaler" is said to have killed from 20,000 to 40,000 European civilians (political rivals, criminals, and anyone else he considered "useless to humanity"), mainly by using his favourite method of impaling them on a sharp pole. (It should be noted, however, that the main source of Romanian history from this time is records by German settlers in neighboring Transylvania, who had frequent clashes with Vlad for political and economic reasons, and may be somewhat biased.) Vlad is revered as a folk hero by Romanians for driving off invading Turks with his brutal tactics; his impaled victims are said to have included as many as 100,000 Turkish Muslims.

Historically, the name "Dracula" is derived from a secret fraternal order of knights called the Order of the Dragon, founded by King Sigismund of Hungary (who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1410) to uphold Christianity and defend the Empire against the Ottoman Turks. Vlad II Dracul, father of Vlad III, was admitted to the Order around 1431 because of his bravery in fighting the Turks. From 1431 onward Vlad II wore the emblem of the order and later, as ruler of Wallachia, his coinage bore the dragon symbol. People believed the dragon to be a devil, thus they called his Vlad Dracul(Vlad the Devil). In archaic Romanian the ending -ulea meant "the son of". Vlad III thus became Vlad Draculea, "The Son of the Devil".

Certainly Stoker did find the name Dracula in his reading on Romanian history. This became a replacement for the name Count Wampyr, which he had intended to use for his villain. Recently, however, many Dracula scholars led by Elizabeth Miller have questioned the connection's depth. It now seems likely that Stoker knew little of Vlad himself, other than the name Dracula which was attributed to him. Certainly the sections of the novel in which Dracula recounts his history are garbled rephrasings of the one work Stoker's notes show he did consult on Romanian history (which gives few details on Vlad's reign, and does not mention his use of impalement). Most importantly, given Stoker's meticulous use of historical background to make it more horrific, it seems unlikely he would have failed to mention that his villain Dracula had impaled thousands of people if he had actually known much of Vlad's background. Nor is Dracula ever called "Vlad" in the novel. Furthermore in the novel Dracula claims to be a Szekler (Székely in Hungarian) - "We Szekelys have a right to be proud..." - whereas Vlad is clearly an ethnic Vlach. Finally, no one compared Vlad to a vampire in his lifetime (Being a descendant of the Dacian "Wolf People" who was sometimes called a "Great Berserker" by the Germans, it is possible that some associated him with lycanthropy).

In writing Dracula, Stoker may also have drawn upon stories about the sídhe — some of which feature blood-drinking women — and the Dracula legend as he created it and as it has been portrayed in films and television shows ever since may be a compound of various influences; many of Stoker's biographers and literary critics have found strong similarities to an earlier Irish writer, Sheridan le Fanu's, classic of the vampire genre, Carmilla.

It has been suggested Stoker was influenced by the history of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was born, like Dracula, in Hungary. It is believed that Bathory tortured and killed up to 700 servant girls in order to bathe in or drink their blood. She believed that the blood of the girls preserved her youth, which may explain why Dracula appeared younger after feeding.[1]

Some have claimed the castle of Count Dracula was inspired by Slains Castle, at which Bram Stoker was a guest of the 19th Earl of Erroll. However, as Stoker visited the castle in 1895, five years after work on Dracula had started there is unlikely to be much connection. Many of the scenes in Whitby and London are based on real places which Stoker frequently visited himself, although in some cases he misrepresents the geography for the sake of the plot.

It has been suggested that Stoker received much historical information from Arminus Vambery, a Hungarian professor he met at least twice. Miller argues that "there is nothing to indicate that the conversation included Vlad, vampires, or even Transylvania" and that "Furthermore, there is no record of any other correspondence between Stoker and Vambery, nor is Vambery mentioned in Stoker's notes for Dracula." [2]

Literary significance & criticism

The novel is narrated by multiple voices — Jonathan's journal of his trip to Transylvania, Mina's diary, and Seward's recorded journal, as well as letters and newspaper items.

Although somewhat crude and certainly sensational, the novel does have psychological power, and the sexual longings underlying the vampire attacks are manifest. As one critic wrote:

What has become clearer and clearer, particularly in the fin de siècle years of the twentieth century, is that the novel's power has its source in the sexual implications of the blood exchange between the vampire and his victims...Dracula has embedded in it a very disturbing psychosexual allegory whose meaning I am not sure Stoker entirely understood: that there is a demonic force at work in the world whose intent is to eroticize women. In Dracula we see how that force transforms Lucy Westenra, a beautiful nineteen-year-old virgin, into a shameless slut. (Leonard Wolf, "Introduction" to the Signet Classic Edition, 1992).

Dracula may be viewed as a novel about the struggle between tradition and modernity at the fin de siècle. Throughout, there are various references to changing gender roles; Mina Harker is a thoroughly modern woman, as she uses (then) modern technologies such as the typewriter, but she still embodies a traditional gender role as an assistant school mistress.

Stoker's novel deals in general with the conflict between the world of the past — full of folklore, myth, legend, and religious piety — and the emerging modern world of technology, logical positivism, and secularism.

Van Helsing epitomizes this struggle because he uses, at the time, extremely modern technologies like blood transfusions; but he is not so modern as to eschew the idea that a demonic being could be causing Lucy's illness, thus he spreads garlic around the sashes and doors of her room and makes her wear a garlic necklace. After Lucy's death, he receives an indulgence from a Catholic cleric to use the Eucharist (held by the Church to be transubstantiated into the body and blood of Jesus) in his fight against Dracula. In trying to bridge the rational/superstitious conflict within the story, he cites then-new sciences, such as hypnotism, that were only recently considered magical. He also quotes (without attribution) the American psychologist William James, whose writings on the power of belief become the only way to deal with this conflict.

Jonathan Harker's character displays the problems of dwelling in a strictly rational modern world. Visiting Count Dracula in Eastern Europe, Jonathan scoffs at the peasants who tell him to delay his visit until after Saint George's feast day. As a solicitor, Jonathan is concerned “with facts — bare meagre facts, verified by books and figures, and of which there can be no doubt” (Dracula). All of Jonathan’s rationality weakens him to what he witnesses at Castle Dracula. For example, the first time Jonathan witnesses the Count crawling down the castle face down, he is in complete disbelief. Not believing what he sees, he attempts to explain what he saw as a trick of the moon light.

The characters of Dracula use (then) modern technology and rationalism to defeat the count. For example, during their pursuit of the vampire, they use railroads and steamships, not to mention the telegraph, to keep a step ahead of him (in contrast, the count escapes in a sailboat). Van Helsing uses the aforementioned method of hypnotism to pinpoint Dracula's location. Mina even employs the then-primitive field of criminology to anticipate the count's actions, and cites both Cesare Lombroso and Max Nordau, who at the time of the novel were considered experts in this field.


Dracula in Romania

After the death of Nicolae Ceauşescu, a tourist industry sprang up in Transylvania (and, to a lesser extent, in Wallachia). However, Romanians have mixed feelings about linking one of their national heroes and the vampire monster.

Historical places connected to Vlad Ţepeş are publicised under a Dracula theme catering largely, but not entirely, to foreign markets. Bran Castle, which has only a very tangential connection with the historical Vlad Ţepeş, now exaggerates that connection and promotes itself as "Dracula's Castle". [3] A dungeon-themed disco, catering to a mostly Romanian crowd and located in the basement of a former inn immediately adjacent to the Curtea Veche ("Old Court") -- onetime site of Vlad Ţepeş' castle in Bucharest -- calls itself by the English-language name "Impaler". The well-preserved medieval town of Sighişoara, Vlad Ţepeş's birthplace, seriously considered building a Dracula theme park on the edge of town, but in the end it was decided that such a site would cheapen the beauty and history of the medieval city and the plan was blocked. The park was then to have been built close to Bucharest (the capital, which is nowhere near Transylvania) but plans have subsequently been scrapped.


Allusions/references from other works

See also: Vampire fiction

Despite its important contributions to vampire fiction, several popular traits of fictional vampires are absent. Count Dracula is killed by a bowie knife, not a wooden stake. The destruction of the vampire Lucy is a three-part process (staking, decapitation, and garlic in the mouth), not the simple stake-only procedure often found in later vampire stories. Dracula has the ability to travel as a mist and to scale the external walls of his castle. One very famous trait Stoker added is the inability to be seen in mirrors, which is not something found in traditional Eastern European folklore.

It is also notable in the novel that Dracula can walk about in the daylight, in bright sunshine, though apparently without the ability to use most of his powers, like turning into mist or a bat. He is still strong and fast enough to struggle with and escape from most of his male pursuers, in a scene in the book. Traditional vampire folklore does not usually hold that sunlight is fatal to vampires though they are nocturnal. It is only with the film Nosferatu that the daylight is first depicted as deadly to vampires.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

1931 film poster, promoting Bela Lugosi's genre-defining turn as Dracula.

1931 film poster, promoting Bela Lugosi's genre-defining turn as Dracula.

The character of Count Dracula has remained popular over the years, and many films have used the character as a villain, while others have referenced him in movie titles such as Daughters of Dracula, Lady Dracula, and Zoltan, Hound of Dracula. An estimated 160 films (as of 2004) feature Dracula in a major role, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes. The total number of films that include a reference to Dracula may reach as high as 649 movies, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Most tellings of the Dracula story include not only the Count, but the rest of the "cast": Jonathan and Mina Harker, Van Helsing, and Renfield. (Notably, the novel roles of characters Jonathan Harker and Renfield are more than occasionally reversed or combined, as are the roles of Mina and Lucy. Quincey Morris is usually omitted entirely.)

One of the first film adaptations of Stoker's story actually caused Stoker's estate to sue for copyright infringement. In 1922, silent film director F. W. Murnau made a horror film called Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens ('Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror'), which took the story of Dracula and set it in Transylvania and Germany. In the story, Dracula's role was changed to that of Count Orlok, one of the most hideous versions of the vampire ever to be created for a movie, played by Max Schreck (whose name literally means 'fright').

The Stoker estate won its lawsuit and all existing prints of Nosferatu were ordered to be destroyed. However, a number of pirated copies of the movie survived to the present era, where they entered the public domain. Nosferatu was also remade in 1979 by Werner Herzog.

In 1927 the story was adapted for the Broadway stage by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston and starred Bela Lugosi (Hungarian-born actor) and Edward Van Sloan as the Count and Van Helsing respectively. Lugosi initially learned his lines phonetically.

The 1931 film version of Dracula starred Bela Lugosi and was directed by Tod Browning. It is one of the most famous versions of the story and is commonly considered a horror classic. In 2000 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. It is an adaptation of the 1927 play and Van Sloan also transferred his role to the big screen. The films only had music during the opening and closing credits. In 1999 Philip Glass was commissioned to compose a musical score to accompany the film. The current DVD release allows access to this music.

At the same time as the 1931 Lugosi film a Spanish language version was filmed for release in Mexico. It was filmed at night using the same sets as the Tod Browning production with a different cast and crew (a common practice in the early days of sound films). George Melford's was the director and it starred Carlos Villarías as the Count, Eduardo Arozamena as Van Helsing and Lupita Tovar as Eva.

Due to America's censorship laws, Melford's Dracula contains scenes that could not be put in the final cut of the more familiar English version. There is considerable debate among fans over which film is better. Fans of Melford's version say the acting of the Spanish version is crisper and the pace is much quicker -- and there aren't any hammy close-ups of Lugosi. It is also included on the available DVD.

During the era of the 1930s and 1940s, the Universal Studios horror films made Dracula a household name by starring him as a villain in a number of movies, including several where he met other monsters (the most famous of which is the comedy Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein in which Lugosi played Dracula on film for only the second and final time.)

Universal Studios productions of Dracula

The Universal Studios films in which Dracula (or a relative) appeared (and the actor portraying the character) were:

  1. Dracula (1931 - Bela Lugosi. A second version was filmed simultaneously in Spanish, with Carlos Villar as Dracula)
  2. Dracula's Daughter (1936 - Gloria Holden)
  3. Son of Dracula (1943 - Lon Chaney, Jr.)
  4. House of Frankenstein (1944 - John Carradine)
  5. House of Dracula (1945 - Carradine)
  6. Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948 - Lugosi. This film is usually known as Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, however the title given here is the official on-screen title according to the Internet Movie Database.)
  7. Van Helsing (2004 - Richard Roxburgh)

In 1938, Orson Welles and John Houseman chose Dracula to be the inaugural episode of the new radio show featuring their Broadway production company, The Mercury Theatre on the Air. The adaptation was faithful to the book, although condensed to fit in the show's hour-long format. Welles was the voice of Dracula.

Hammer Films productions of Dracula

In 1958, Hammer Films produced Dracula (1958), a newer, more Gothic version of the story, starring Christopher Lee as Dracula and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. It is widely considered to be one of the best versions of the story to be adapted to film, and in 2004 was named by the magazine Total Film as the 30th greatest British film of all time. Although it takes many liberties with the novel's plot, the creepy atmosphere and charismatic performance of Lee make it memorable and favored. It was released in the United States as Horror of Dracula to avoid confusion with the earlier Lugosi version. This was followed by a long series of Dracula films, usually featuring Lee as Dracula.

The Hammer films in which Dracula (or a relative) appeared (and the actor portraying the character) were:

  1. Dracula (1958) - Christopher Lee. Released in the US as Horror of Dracula
  2. The Brides of Dracula (1960 - David Peel as Dracula disciple Baron Meinster)
  3. Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966 - Lee)
  4. Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968 - Lee)
  5. Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969 - Lee)
  6. Scars of Dracula (1970 - Lee)
  7. Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972 - Lee)
  8. The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973 - Lee). Released in the US as Count Dracula and His Vampire Bride
  9. The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974 - John Forbes-Robertson). Variously released as The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula and Dracula and the Seven Golden Vampires

Christopher Lee, the British actor who played in the Hammer Dracula films, reminisced in a 1999 inteview for NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1065958

Other productions 1967 - 1979

The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) was directed by Roman Polanski and introduced him to Sharon Tate.

Count Dracula (1969 film), directed by Jesus Franco starring Christopher Lee as Dracula. While not a part of the Hammer series some fans feel that it is close to the spirit of the book.

In 1972, Paul Naschy starred in Dracula's Great Love, directed by Javier Aguirre for the Spanish production company Janus Films. This movie predated the vision of Dracula as a romantic character to Francis Ford Coppola's by 20 years.

In 1973, a major television movie version starring Jack Palance was produced by Dan Curtis, best known for producing the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. Filmed in Yugoslavia and England, it was a fairly faithful and moody piece.

In 1974, Andy Warhol presented an outrageously campy Dracula (a.k.a. "Blood for Dracula"), directed by Paul Morrissey and starring cult icon Udo Kier.

Dracula Père et Fils 1976, Christopher Lee French movie starring Christopher Lee as Dracula

1977 saw a BBC version made for television starring Louis Jourdan and directed by Philip Saville. This version is one of the more faithful adaptations of the book. It includes all of the main characters from the book (only blending together Arthur and Quincey) and has scenes of Jonathon recording events in his diary and Dr. Seward speaking into his dictaphone.

1977 also saw a revival of the 1927 broadway version. The atmospheric sets and costumes were designed by Edward Gorey. The Count was portrayed by Frank Langella and, like Lugosi before him, he would go on to perform the role on the big screen. The same Gorey sets and costumes were used for a U.S. touring version of the play starring Jeremy Brett. The Deane-Balderston lines were altered somewhat and played for a more comedic effect.

In 1978, an independent film company produced the horror thriller Zoltan, Hound of Dracula starring Michael Pataki as the mild-mannered family psychiatrist destined to encounter the resurrected hound of Dracula.

In 1979, Frank Langella starred opposite Laurence Olivier as a sexually charged version of the Count in a new film version. It is considered of uneven quality, though the John Williams score is superb. That year also saw the release of Love at First Bite, a romantic comedy spoof set in contemporary New York City starring George Hamilton as the count.

Dracula movies 1980 - 1999

In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola produced and directed a new version of the film, called Bram Stoker's Dracula starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, and Anthony Hopkins. Coppola's story includes a subplot in which Mina Harker was revealed to be the reincarnation of Dracula's greatest love. This story is not part of Stoker's original. The soundtrack includes 'Lovesong for a Vampire', sung by Annie Lennox.

In 1995, Mel Brooks did a comedic parody, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, which parodied all of the standard Dracula themes, but especially noteworthy was the scene where Dracula's reflection was noticeably absent in a mirror as he danced at a ball, to the horror of those watching. A scene where Van Helsing has Harker pound a stake into a sleeping Lucy's chest with a seemingly impossible amount of blood spraying back on himself asks the question: just where does all the blood go? Mel Brooks played Van Helsing as an aged Professor. Dracula was played by Leslie Nielsen.

Dracula movies 2000 to present

Patrick Lussier took a stab at the legend with his modern day Dracula 2000, promoted as Wes Craven Presents Dracula 2000. Wes Craven was an executive producer. It was released in the UK as Dracula 2001. To discover how to destroy Dracula, Van Helsing (portrayed by Christopher Plummer) keeps himself alive with injections of Dracula's blood. When thieves steal the vampire and crash near New Orleans, Van Helsing and his ward must track down the vampire and save Van Helsing's daughter Mary. The film also gives Dracula a new identity as the damned soul of Judas Iscariot after being cast out of both Heaven and Hell.

In 2002, Canadian cult film director Guy Maddin released his screen adaptation of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's version of the count's tale, a ballet set to the music of Gustav Mahler and titled Dracula, Pages From a Virgin's Diary. Mainly greyscale until Dracula is cut and bleeds gold colloured coins.

The character of Mina Harker appeared in the 2003 film adaptation of the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as a vampiric heroine played by Peta Wilson.

Van Helsing is a film based on the vampire-hunter Van Helsing from the book, played in this case by Hugh Jackman, only reinvented as an immortal action hero assigned by the Vatican to hunt monsters. Richard Roxburgh portrays Dracula in this reinvigoration of the 1930s and 1940s Universal Horror monsters which also featured new versions of the Frankenstein Monster and The Wolf Man. In this movie, Dracula is somewhat of a super vampire, impervious to the normal methods of killing a vampire.

A character named Drake serves as the primary antagonist in Blade: Trinity, in which a group of vampires summon him in order to finally defeat Blade. While he is not confirmed directly to be Dracula, Drake is implied to have lived under several different aliases and personalities, one of which may have been the infamous vampire. Dominic Purcell portrays Drake.

2005 saw the premiere of Dracula's most recent play incarnation, an adaptation by playwright P. Shane Mitchell. By the end of 2005, the opera Dracula, by the Colombian composer Héctor Fabio Torres Cardona opened in Manizales, Colombia. A French Canadian musical production ("Dracula: Entre l'amour et la mort"[4]) opened in Montreal in January 2006, starring Bruno Pelletier.

Popular culture

Like Frankenstein, Dracula has inspired many literary tributes or parodies, including Stephen King's Salem's Lot, Kim Newman's Anno Dracula, Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape, Wendy Swanscombe's erotic parody Vamp, and Dan Simmons's Children of the Night. Loren D. Estleman's novel The Case of the Sanguinary Count pits Dracula against that equally venerable Victorian-era character, Sherlock Holmes, as does Fred Saberhagen's The Holmes-Dracula File. Freda Warrington's Dracula the Undead is a sequel to Dracula.

Dracula has been a recurring character in many comic books, most notably, the Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula written primarily by Marv Wolfman (following two issues each by Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin and Gardner Fox) and drawn by Gene Colan for Marvel Comics in the 1970s. Mina Harker is a member of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a pastiche comic book, and film featuring numerous Victorian characters.(Her portrayal in the film of the same name is markedly different from the character in the comic. The comic version of Mina seems to be, largely, an ordinary human, while her film counterpart is a vampire herself. How this is meant to be reconciled with Mina being freed from Dracula at the end of Stokers novel is unclear.) One popular Elseworlds book by DC Comics is Batman and Dracula: Red Rain, which features the caped crusader fighting Dracula, who has come to Gotham City. An animated movie called The Batman vs. Dracula pitting the two characters against one another aired on Cartoon Network and has been released on DVD.

In Warhammer Fantasy Battles there is a long dynasty of titled vampires in the Empire who rose up against the mortal Emperor and started the Undead wars. The von Carstein Trilogy (Inheritance, Dominion and Retribution) as novelised by Steven Savile fictionalises the lives of the most infamous these Vampires, Vlad Von Carstein and his gets, Konrad and Mannfred. Vlad himself draws on Dracula stereotype.

In most videogames of the Castlevania series (known as "Akumajo Dracula" (Demon Castle Dracula) in Japan), Count Vlad Tepes Dracula, as he is known in the series, is the ultimate source of evil that the protagonists must confront, after adventuring through Dracula's castle. The other aspect in relations to the Count is his son, Adrian Farenheights Tepes, commonly known as "Alucard", who has dedicated his life to insure the survival of the human race and the preventing of his father's tyranny. It is often said by both fans and Konami that the Castlevania timeline is meant to exist in the same universe as the Bram Stoker novel. This is evidenced in Castlevania:Bloodlines, as one of the protagonists is a relative of Quincy Morris.

Now-defunct software company CRL produced a series of games in the 1980s featuring classic horror classics including Dracula. These were the first game titles in the UK to receive BBFC certification (they were rated "15"), normally reserved for films and videos. There were two adventure games, Dracula: Resurrection and The Last Sanctuary. Both took place after the novels end and continued Jon and Mina's fight against the Count.

In the manga and anime series Hellsing, the vampire Alucard (note: Dracula spelled backwards) is Dracula himself, having been magically bound into servitude to the Hellsing family rather than being destroyed outright.

Dracula has also appeared as a villain in the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in an episode called Buffy vs. Dracula.

In the book series Vampire Hunter D which takes place ten thousand years in the future, D's adversary Count Magnus discovers that D is the son of Dracula, the Ancient Ancestor. D also nearly states this during a psychological attack in the second volume, Raiser of Gales.

Dracula has even been adapted for children's literature and entertainment, serving as the basis for several vampire cartoon characters over the years. Dracula (or at least his portrayal by Bela Lugosi) is the basis for the Muppet character named Count von Count on Sesame Street. Cartoon vampires based upon Dracula also include Cosgrove Hall's Count Duckula, Filmation's Quackula, and Count Chocula, the animated mascot of the breakfast cereal of the same name. He also made an appearance in some episodes of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, as an old monster in a Retirement home for monsters. He also appeared in Codename: Kids Next Door as the villain, named Count Spankulot. Instead of sucking blood, he spanks naughty children.

In addition, Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon all appeared in a 1980s movie called The Monster Squad in which a magical amulet, and its survival or destruction every hundred years, will turn the tide one way or the other in the neverending struggle between the forces of good and evil. Dracula is at his deadly best in this film, surviving all the way to the end of the film, where he is shown battling Abraham Van Helsing in his final scene in the film.

The association of the book with the Yorkshire fishing village of Whitby has led to the staging of the twice-yearly Whitby Gothic Weekend, an event that sees the town visited by Goths from all over Britain and occasionally from other parts of the world.

(Via Wikipedia.)

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